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Scanning for Gaps in the Pre-Market with ThinkOrSwim

 

ThinkOrSwim’s built-in scans don’t allow you to scan for gaps in the pre-market, they only work after the open. Because of this, most traders are forced to pay huge monthly fees for premium scanners like Trade-Ideas or Pristine’s ESP scanner. So I developed these custom scans using TOS ThinkScript to help find the best stocks forming gaps in the premarket, using the free market data and scanning tools in the ThinkOrSwim platform.

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Pre-Market Gap Scan OVERHAUL!

premarket movers gap scan for thinkorswim

I want to be sure I’m providing a really good value for what I do, and that I respond to feedback from my customers. To that end, I spent a lot of time doing a complete overhaul of the pre-market gap scan set for the Stock Hacker scanner in ThinkOrSwim. To be clear, the old set of scans worked great, and I use modified versions of them all the time.  But I wanted to make the scans even more powerful and full-featured so that they really do the best job they can possibly do. So today I’ve released the new version 2.0 gap scans, and EVERYONE who has purchased the scans in the past gets a free upgrade. You’ll notice the new links in your My Account > Orders > Order Details section automatically. Also, for those that haven’t purchased a copy yet, the scans are on sale this month here.

What’s New with the Pre-Market Gap Scan

First, there are a lot more of them, and all of them are more full-featured and easier to customize. They’re also more consistently setup, with cleaner code and comments.

Second, all the scans are set to find gaps greater than a certain percentage change, and you can now change that percentage to whatever you want for all of the scans!

Third, you’ll notice some new scans in both the pre-market group and the regular hours group. In the pre-market gap scan group, I’ve included a set of scans that finds what I call “insignificant” gaps, or gaps from the close, not from the high or low. Basically just a pre-market mover stock where there’s a gap between yesterday’s closing price and today’s opening price, even if that doesn’t take the open outside of yesterday’s range altogether.

Technically, a gap is any stock that OPENS higher than the previous day’s high, or lower than the previous day’s low. But if you run regular hours scans later in the day, the stocks might not all look like gaps because some of them have already filled the gap (i.e., even though a stock might have opened below yesterday’s low, today’s trading has moved the high so that it is now equal to or higher than the previous day’s low, for example, filling the a gap down). So one or two people got confused when my regular hours scans included these stocks that had later filled their gaps. I explained it to them, but I figured it would be even better to give everyone both options so you can weed out the ones that have already filled the gap, if you want to. So you’ll notice those scans below under “regular hours”.

All Version 2.0 Gap Scans Default to these Settings:

  • Last Price Between $5 – $200
  • Avg. Daily Volume > 500,000
  • Avg. True Range > .5
  • Gap >= 1%

All these settings can be adjusted and my comments inside the scan should help you do that if needed. Just use the drop-downs and input fields, or click the pencil icon next to any filter to change it. If you want to remove a filter altogether just click the X on the right hand side of the StockHacker window for that line of the scan. Be sure to save a new copy with a new name to apply the changes.

PRE-MARKET GAP SCAN – AFTER HOURS / EXTENDED HOURS SCANS

All Significant Gaps > X% From High Or Low
Significant Gaps Up > X% Above High
Significant Gaps Down > X% Below Low

All Tier 1 Significant Gaps > X% from High or Low
Tier 1 Significant Gaps Up > X% above High
Tier 1 Significant Gaps Down > X% below Low

All Gaps from Close (instead of hi/low) > X%
Gaps Down from Close (instead of low) > X%
Gaps Up from Close (instead of high) > X%

REGULAR TRADING HOURS SCANS

Gaps That Haven’t Filled Yet

All Significant Gaps (+ haven’t filled) > X%
Significant Gap Ups (+ haven’t filled) > X%
Significant Gap Downs (+ haven’t filled) > X%

All Tier 1 Gaps (+ haven’t filled) > X%
Tier 1 Gap Downs (+ haven’t filled) > X%
Tier 1 Gap Ups (+ haven’t filled) > X%

Gaps That May or May Not Have Filled

All Significant Gaps > X%
Significant Gap Ups > X%
Significant Gap Downs > X%

All Tier 1 Gaps > X%
Tier 1 Gap Downs > X%
Tier 1 Gap Ups > X%

Definitions

I always refer to gaps in terms of either being insignificant, significant, or tier 1. That’s just how I learned to think about them, but to translate my “trader speak,” here’s a quick definition of each:

  • Insignificant: A gap from the close, where the open has moved > X% from yesterday’s CLOSE, but where the stock may or may not be opening outside of yesterday’s range altogether. These are basically just a good, cleaned up list of pre-market movers, and this is the broadest type of gap scan you can do.
  • Significant: A gap from the high or low, where the open has moved > X% from yesterday’s HIGH or LOW, and thus the stock is opening completely outside of yesterday’s range. These are “true” gaps.
  • Tier 1: A significant gap in the opposite direction of yesterday’s price movement. So if yesterday was a green up bar, today is a significant gap below the low of yesterday. Or if yesterday was a red down bar, then today is a significant gap up over yesterday’s high. Basically the gap is negating all price movement from yesterday and “shocking” traders who wake up and see their positions suddenly in the red. There is a greater likelihood to see some panicked covering of positions at and near the open, and especially at any early retrace toward yesterday’s price where trapped traders will try to get out nearer to break-even.

Low Float Stocks

Just a quick note here: I know a lot of pre-market gap scan users also trade low float stocks. Low float stocks that gap in the morning can often create a real spike in price movement a make a trader a lot of quick profit if they’re on the right side of that price movement. But trading these setups used to be next to impossible to do within ThinkOrSwim, so most people had to pay for a standalone scanning service like Trade Ideas at god-awful subscription rates.

However, recently I came up with a workaround that has been doing well for TOS traders — I’ve painstakingly created 5 custom static lists of stocks, with floats less than 10 million, 20, 30, 40, and 50 million shares float each, and I have posted those for sale over here.

And it gets better. All the gap scans can be set up to run only on the low float lists, thus only returning low float gapping stocks. So now if you purchase both products in the shop area, you can not only scan for normal gaps, but also for the low float gaps so many people are looking for ways to find now.

Improvements

If you have any ideas for improvements to either the pre-market gap scan or the regular hours gap scan, I’m happy to hear them. Also, since this is a big release, I’m sure there might be a bug or two found during the first few weeks, so let me know if you spot anything weird.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE NEW SCANS

  

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PreMarket Gap Scanners for ThinkOrSwim

premarket gap scanners for thinkorswim

PreMarket Gap Scanners for ThinkOrSwim

With the PreMarket Gap Scanners for ThinkOrSwim, you’ll be able to find and trade the best in-play stocks for the day before most traders even know what they are. Like to trade during the pre market hours? Easy. Want to trade in-play stocks in the first few minutes after the open? Check. Want to add gapping stocks to your watchlist to find continuation plays later in the afternoon. Done-and-done. This set of scans brings you the highest quality, highest volume, highest volatility stocks for the day before the market even opens.

What you get:

  • Custom-programmed premarket gap scanner that finds TRUE gaps. (This is defined as low of prior day > last premarket price, or high of prior day < last premarket price). The built in gap lists can’t do this! The built in lists only find small changes from the CLOSE of the prior day which don’t mean as much for gap trading!
  • Two (2) custom-programmed premarket gap scanners that automatically look for PRO gaps. These are gaps forming in the opposite direction from the previous day’s movement (i.e., a gap down coming from a previous green day, or a gap up coming from a previous red day).
  • Two (2) custom-programmed regular trading hours scanners that narrow the built in gap lists down to only the most high-quality gaps. This scanner takes the existing gap lists in ThinkOrSwim (that work only after the market has opened) and weeds out the garbage, narrowing the list down to only the best gaps that are likely to form great setups during the day.

Why you want it:

  • Avoid hours of analysis … get a custom list of quality gaps delivered to you every morning without any work!
  • Allows you to log in 15-20 minutes before the market opens, grab your watchlist, and then get back to important stuff like making your morning coffee!
  • Whether you trade with ThinkOrSwim or just use it for its free data, charting, and scanning capabilities, these add-on scanner scripts will make your life easier!
  • Buy it once and use if forever! I’m making my own scanners available to you without any subscriptions or memberships. This allows you to keep more of your monthly trading income for the things that matter in your life.

How to get it:

  • It’s simple! ThinkOrSwim has a great “sharing” feature that lets users send each other their custom layouts, scans, indicators, and so forth.
  • I’ll send you an email with special ThinkOrSwim sharing links that will automatically import the scans into your system.

 

$99.99 $89.99Add to cart

 

About Josiah

Hi guys, I’m Josiah, and I’m a trader/programmer from the Nashville, TN area. I recently finished up both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Computer Information Systems at a local university and have been self-employed since then, trading and developing projects with Ruby on Rails on the side. Since I was already familiar with a certain amount of programming, and had an active interest in trading and investing, learning ThinkScript — the scripting language for the ThinkOrSwim platform — made a lot of sense, and helped me develop a platform configuration that really streamlined my trading workflow.

About the ThinkScripts

These basically came about because I got so frustrated with the limited built-in capabilities in TOS, and standalone subscription services that charge $99+/month. So I decided to learn ThinkScript so I could develop indicators and scans for myself. I still use most of these thinkscripts every day while trading.

Questions?

Email me here or leave a comment below!

 

$99.99 $89.99Add to cart